(WTNH) – Federal funding will spare families from unexpected tragedy in the water. Kids across Connecticut can now qualify for a free swimming program at YMCAs.

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. This program will protect kids from the dangers of water and allow them to get active.

The funding for this initiative comes from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act. Lessons will be offered at YMCAs across Connecticut.

Those eligible to enroll must be 17 years old and younger and live in a qualified census tracks or receive SNAP benefits. Participants can also be recommended to the program.

There are already 400 children being served.

“Parents know that learning how to swim is on that checklist of things that you need to provide for your family, but in a city like Waterbury, you have so many families that are literally living paycheck to paycheck that don’t have enough money to put food on the table. Swimming lessons are, unfortunately, a luxury,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn).

According to the CDC, in the U.S., drowning is the number one cause of death for children ages 1 to 4. On average, there are 4,000 unintentional fatal drownings yearly, or about 11 deaths per day. Those that survive drowning can suffer from brain damage or long-term disabilities.

“What we’re doing across the state with this program is really, really important,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (D-Conn). “Gov. Lamont has approved spending over the next three years so that kids can have free swimming lessons.”

A child that learns to swim will be able to take that skill through the rest of their life.

For more information on the free lessons, click here.